The Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket is quite a mouthful. But it’s also quite a monster of a waterproof jacket, not least in price, coming in at an eye-watering RRP of £600 (although it can now be found at more affordable prices now it's not brand new out). However, with a target market of backcountry skiers, mountaineers and hikers, there’s a lot of ground to cover.
So how does it compare to the rest of the best ski jackets on the market, not to mention the best waterproof jackets in general? We tested one out to see. Here's our Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket review.
Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket review: design
Design is right at the forefront of the Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket’s raison d’etre, beginning with the fabric itself. No standard Gore-business here, this is Helly Hansen's in-house polypropylene LIFA Infinity Pro, a three-layer fabric with a breathable microporous membrane that's water repellent and durable, but PFC-free.
With that environmental weight lifted from your shoulders, you’ll notice the general setup here is promising, an athletic cut, robust waterproof in an active mountain style. In spite of the robust three-layer fabric and innumerable pockets (2 internal, 3 external, including ski pass pocket), there’s not much weight here, always a boon.
A low hem combined with the zip-out show skirt keeps the worst of spindrift and powder at bay, and it’s great to see the Recco reflector added - a little bit more safety for very little weight penalty.
All seams are taped, and neat details abound - the generous handing loop is rubberised so it stands proud for easy hooking even in gloves, for example.
Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket Review: performance and comfort
Waterproof performance is always a bit of a tricky area – coatings break down at varying speeds in different conditions, and slight weather variations make today’s sweaty bin liner into tomorrows perfect match – that’s before you add in the human element.
That said, there’s not much to worry about on the waterproofing aspect with the Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket. Even in torrential rain, the shell does its job, and the well-crafted design stops any weird runoff issues occurring either. The only note of caution is the pit zips, which (as ever) are tricky to adjust even in easy conditions, and near impossible wearing gloves in a hoolie. As a simple uninsulated shell jacket, you’ll want to be layering this in colder conditions, but this adds flexibility for year-round use, as well as reducing weight, so far from a negative in our eyes.
However, a good waterproof shell doesn’t just keep you dry, it’s a windproof suit of armour against the elements, which means the fit needs to be impeccable. Our test Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket did exactly this, velcro cuffs locking sleeves without hassle, and offering brilliant articulation (you can easily use an ice axe overhead without lifting the hem). The best bit is the hood, a lovely cavernous affair that’ll swallow the largest of helmets, with two-way adjustment, allowing a really good tight fit whatever headgear you’re sporting. A slightly stiffened peak keeps its shape well, and really prevents wind and driven sleet dashing into your eyes – unlike floppier models – a big benefit of that robust 3-ply material.
Elsewhere, the pockets are all easily accessible - one slight niggle is that the large hand pockets extend to the bottom of the jacket, which means you’ll need to empty them of small items before tightening a harness over the top. Initially, you might think they’re not big enough to fit a map in, but there is a ‘hack’ - the right-hand pocket is enormously tall, so judicious folding or rolling is required.
Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket Review: verdict
The Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket is an excellent waterproof; well designed and robust enough to last for many years’ happy abuse in the mountains. It’s light without being fragile, so should easily weather the odd skiing tumble or mountaineering scrape, and has one of the best hoods we’ve tested. There’s a big environmental tick in the polypropylene LIFA Infinity Pro, and the powder skirt is effective and removable if you want to cut weight.
On the downside, the pitzips are tricky to operate, and the ‘harness-compatible’ main hand pockets are slightly too deep. The biggest negative is with that substantial RRP, but online deals are nearly cutting that in half - a much more friendly proposition. The only real question is the longevity of that new polypropylene LIFA Infinity Pro material, but given that lifetime of Helly Hansens LIFA baselayers are measured in geological epochs, it’s likely to be a good friend to you for years to come.